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Grand Forks superintendent finalists named

The Grand Forks School Board's superintendent search committee selected three finalists for the position, without public discussion, in a brief meeting Thursday night.

They are Terry Brenner, director of curriculum, instruction, assessment and professional development for Grand Forks Public Schools; Dennis Goodwin, superintendent of Camp Verde Unified Public Schools, Camp Verde, Ariz., and James Hess, superintendent of Bemidji Area Schools.

The decision followed interviews with six candidates that were conducted in closed sessions Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 7 and 8.

"We have three very strong candidates" for the superintendent's position, said Doug Carpenter, School Board president. "Any one of the three could be a good leader for the district."

In an interview after the meeting was adjourned, Carpenter said he encourages residents to meet and "bring their questions" to the finalists at public meetings next week.

Members of the public may meet each finalist from 5 to 6 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday at the Mark Sanford Education Center, 2400 47th Ave. S. Enter through Door 3 on the building's west side.

The finalists also will be interviewed by various groups representing community leaders, teachers, staff, students and others in daylong sessions next week.

Input from those interviews will be provided to the School Board before each finalist's formal board interview.

The finalists will be interviewed by the School Board, one candidate on each day, in open sessions beginning at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday at the Sanford Center.

Both the public interview sessions and the School Board interviews will be televised on Midco Channel 15.

After the last interview Thursday, the School Board plans to meet in open session to deliberate and choose the finalist, Carpenter said.

That person will be the next superintendent, pending the finalization of a contract with the board, he said.

Search committee members are Carpenter, chairman; Eric Burin, Amber Flynn and Meegen Sande, representing the Grand Forks School Board; and Elizabeth Meihaus, president of the Grand Forks Air Force Base School Board. Branden Shepperd served as the base's board liaison to the committee for Meihaus, who was unable to participate in the candidate interviews.

Flynn participated in candidate interviews Wednesday, but was unable to Thursday, Carpenter said.

The firm School Exec Connect, the Edina, Minn.-based business that was hired by the School Board to conduct the search, selected the initial six candidates. The deadline for applications was Jan. 31.

The candidates' names were not previously made public, in accordance with a law passed by the 2017 North Dakota Legislature. The law was intended to encourage more interest in, and more applications for, leadership positions such as school superintendent, School Board Doug Carpenter said.

Superintendent Larry Nybladh will retire June 30.

The next superintendent is expected to start work July 1.

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